Activision Blizzard Settles California Workplace Discrimination Case for $54 Million

Activision Blizzard, which publishes hit games like the Call of Duty franchise and World of Warcraft, agreed to pay $54 million and committed to implementing measures to ensure fair pay and equitable promotions. “If approved by the court, this settlement agreement represents a major step forward and will bring direct relief to Activision Blizzard workers,” California Civil Rights Department Director Kevin Kish said. Activision Blizzard operates out of its headquarters in Santa Monica, California. In February, Activision Blizzard agreed to a $35 million settlement with the SEC over its failure to “implement necessary controls to collect and review employee complaints about workplace misconduct,” ultimately obscuring that information from being disclosed to investors. Longtime Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, deeply embroiled in the years-long controversy, will depart the company at the end of the year.

The California Civil Rights Department has recently announced a settlement with video game giant Activision Blizzard. This comes after a two-year-long lawsuit filed by the state regulator, accusing the company of gender discrimination, pay inequities, and a culture of sexual harassment.

The settlement requires Activision Blizzard, known for publishing popular games like the Call of Duty franchise and World of Warcraft, to pay a total of $54 million. This includes $46 million for compensating their employees and contractors, particularly women, who have worked for the company between 2015 to 2020. However, the details of the settlement are still being finalized and are subject to court approval.

“If approved by the court, this settlement agreement represents a major step forward and will bring direct relief to Activision Blizzard workers,” said Kevin Kish, Director of the California Civil Rights Department (formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing), which operates from the company’s headquarters in Santa Monica, California.

The lawsuit was filed by the California Civil Rights Department in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2021, citing violations of the state’s Equal Pay Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act. However, as part of the settlement, the department has agreed to withdraw its allegations and stated that no independent investigation or court has substantiated claims of widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard.

The settlement also found no evidence of illegal behavior by the company’s board, executives, or its CEO, Bobby Kotick, who has been embroiled in controversy for years.

Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard also agreed to pay $35 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failing to properly address employee complaints regarding workplace misconduct, which were then hidden from investors.

The start of the lawsuit initiated a tumultuous period for Activision Blizzard, marked by employee walkouts, inflammatory statements from executives, unstable share prices, and concerns about a toxic workplace culture that negatively impacted the well-being of their employees.

These events eventually led to Microsoft’s decision to acquire the company in a $68.7 billion deal, which was finalized in October. As a result of the ongoing controversy, longtime CEO Bobby Kotick will be departing from the company at the end of the year.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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